I am writing this month from my flat in Manchester on a particularly warm sunny day for mid March. We have a nice little garden at the back of our place and Rosie is lying out there now trying to get her first tan of the year. The clocks go forward this weekend which I am looking forward to; it is so much easier to get up in the mornings for training when it is light outside.
We returned from Australia a few weeks ago and flew out to Italy only a couple of days later for the next round of the Len Champions Cup. We were split into two teams to compete in this tournament and I travelled to Recco in Northern Italy which is right on the coast and so beautiful! As in Australia we played the same day we arrived and didn’t fare too well against Pro Recco, the national Italian champions, losing 20-7. A couple of days later we had adjusted to the time difference from Australia and put up a much better fight keeping them within four goals to only lose 10-6.
Since Italy we have slipped back into our normal routine of training five hours a day in Manchester. We are in the gym every morning and back to doing really hard swim sets in the pool. We have also been doing a lot of flexibility work, stretching after every session and pilates a couple of times a week. We had some fun at training yesterday experimenting with Olympic themed temporary tattoos designed and kindly donated by Lydia Leith. You can see by the photo that some of us (Lisa!) maybe had too much fun!
We have also had a very special visitor to training this week – World Cup winner and England’s most capped Rugby player, Jason Leonard. He came down to the pool with a couple of his mates to watch the session and then they got in and had a go. I was impressed because they weren’t bad at all, even managing to score a couple past Rosie (although we did put the floor up so they could touch the bottom!). Afterwards we had a great Q&A session with him and it was incredible to hear his stories from all the years he represented England. His knowledge of playing under pressure and in front of big crowds was so valuable in our preparation for the Olympics.
It is all go now for us. We are in Manchester training for the next few weeks before we head down to London for the test event in early May and then World League in Greece straight after that. I also have my 25th birthday in a few days which is a bit scary as I know I’ll be 25 when I compete at the Olympics so now it makes it seem so much closer!